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insignia

[in-sig-nee-uh]
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noun, formally a plural of insigne, but usually used as a singular with plural in·sig·ni·a or in·sig·ni·as.
  1. a badge or distinguishing mark of office or honor: a military insignia.
  2. a distinguishing mark or sign of anything: an insignia of mourning.
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Also insigne.

Origin of insignia

1640–50; < Latin, plural of insigne mark, badge, noun use of neuter of insignis distinguished (by a mark); see in-2, sign

Usage note

Insignia, originally the plural of Latin insigne, began to be used as a singular in the 18th century, and the plural insignias appeared shortly thereafter. All uses— insignia as a singular or plural and insignias as a plural—are fully standard. The singular insigne still occurs, but insignia is more common.

insigne

[in-sig-nee]
noun
  1. singular of insignia.
  2. insignia.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for insignia

insignia

noun plural -nias or -nia
  1. a badge or emblem of membership, office, or dignity
  2. a distinguishing sign or mark
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Also called (rare): insigne (ɪnˈsɪɡniː)

Word Origin

C17: from Latin: marks, badges, from insignis distinguished by a mark, prominent, from in- ² + signum mark
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for insignia

n.

1640s, from Latin insignia, neuter plural of insigne "badge, mark," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + signum "mark" (see sign). Singular is insigne.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper